Winging It: Countdown to 1994

Yes, it’s what you’ve long clamoured for – and that’s a nine-letter word.

A return visit to this Countdown malarkey (only eight, but a darn good word) is, admittedly, normally code for having a thirst to create but a total drought of practical (nine letters) ideas – it’s often the way, or vice versa. Had I the skills before, though, I probably would have gone straight to this one, rather than chip away at the very wooden predecessor. It was a bit of a nightmare with curve upon curve, and troublesome splines all over – a lot of the successes came from just winging it, but I guess that’s part of the fun. I’m pretty pleased with what I eventually coaxed out of the chaos, and I’d hope it’s all the better for the time that’s passed since my last go.

cd94f4-0

A retro look for the early nineties, the show went truly overboard (nine!) with lights – hundreds of the things, in strands strung from the clock in chevron-esque ‘wings’, which I always presumed was a grandiose (again!) nod to producer Yorkshire TV’s logo-mark, but I could have overthought that. They would even blink when somebody scored the ultimate goal of a nine-letter word – a reward whose manner probably says all that need be said of Countdown.

cd94_0024

With all that flash and the show being at its peak during the nineties, it’s probably the definitive Countdown look for many; it’s certainly the one in which the warmest memories are wrapped up for me, spending half an hour each day in the company of avuncular pun-master and sartorial deckchair, Richard Whiteley and, in the perfect TV/dinner partnership, a bowl of Alphabetti spaghetti. (I think it’s this wistful nostalgia that tricked me into thinking that stuff tasted good!) I’m moved to think of my grandfather excitedly telling me that Countdown was about to start and sitting me on his knee, or asking if I managed to outdo the contestants last time. The answer was always no, but he knew that one day I would figure it out, and, sure enough, I did! Appropriately for a game dominated by a big clock, Countdown over its thirty-five years has forged an affinity with time like no other TV show I can think of – both my grandfather and Richard are now much-missed memories, but they come to mind whenever the music hits. They were happy days.

There are probably several nine-letter words in there.

cd94F2All this being said, it figures that it jarred somewhat when the show was given a makeover, but the flowing locks live on as that thing of unmatched beauty, the victor’s teapot, which takes its form even today.


cd94_lights

I should put this in the Timepiece series – yes, the one I started in September and haven’t added to since; a much-needed kick up the arse for it, let’s hope it works! And it’s not like it’s unjust. The nation can continue without Big Ben, but I wouldn’t fancy our chances if the Countdown clock were silenced, would you!? Long may the clock tick.

Advertisements
30 comments
  1. Bill Fufkin said:

    Now, THAT is the show I remember…a real trip down memory lane. B

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jacob said:

      I knew you had taste, Bill 😉 Glad it brought back some memories – as I said, it does have a way of doing that!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Billy said:

    It’s gorgeous, the one I grew up with and the one I’ll love the most forever, hah

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jacob said:

      Thanks, Billy, and hello! Hope the Minecrafting is coming along nicely.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Robert Hall said:

    Wow, Jacob! This is the best piece of work I’ve seen you produce, which is great for me since it was very highly anticipated! That GIF of the wings flashing is beautiful, and once again you have captured the set in its true beauty. IF I could use Cinema 4D like you, I’d be in Heaven — honestly.

    Congratulations to you, once again – you should make videos on YouTube of full games with contestants — that WOULD be something to see – if you have time, of course!

    Well done Jacob and please continue being my inspiration in the world of graphic design. You truly are a god.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jacob said:

      I’m glad it lived up to the expectation, especially following your own great effort. I would often like to do more animation with my 3D models, but my hardware isn’t really up to it; the render times are a slog, which is why I tend to favour stills and GIFs.

      On being able to do 3D: there’s never a better time to learn. If Cinema is out of reach, I’ve heard (and seen) great things about Blender, which is free and has a large online community:

      https://www.blender.org/

      I think you can get a lite version of SketchUp for free, too, and probably others. Go for it! If your 2D work is anything to go by, then I’ll be expecting some magic.

      Aww! It means so much to be considered an inspiration. Thank you very much! Have a good evening – as a god, I command thee. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • Robert Hall said:

        It really has lived up to my expectations. When you mentioned previously that your progress was slow with this set, I NEVER expected it to be out this soon – I’ve been poised on this blog waiting for this new post — typical that I was at work when it was published 😀

        I’ve seen some of the things Blender can do, but as I student I have a lite version of Cinema 4D which I could start experimenting with. Hmm – I might give something like this a go.

        As for your hardware, I completely empathise with that — the Illustrator file that I made my wings set in takes quite a while to save because of the shapes, and that’s only around 100 — I can’t even imagine how long it must take to save a huge document like yours, particularly with all of the lighting. Oh well, it all pays off in the end and that’s what design is all about after all.

        I remember there was somebody on YouTube quite a while back who produced PowerPoints of game shows (forgot his name) – he did Countdown Masters series and I believe Rachel Riley used his graphics when she visited schools for maths games. They were quite good, but still not like yours! You should send these designs to Countdown or ITV because they will have to be impressed – they make the actual studio designs look better and would look overwhelming in a live app.

        Anyway, I must be off to, but thank you for the advice and good night, my friend!

        Liked by 2 people

      • Jacob said:

        Ha, well I scheduled it to publish at 4:30, naturally!

        Well, in that case definitely play with C4D! I dare say the limitations will help rather than hinder.

        Would the name be “Steven”, perchance? That was me, as I’m sure is quite obvious. I didn’t feel I could be me online at the time of setting that up, so created an identity to hide behind. It was so stupid, thankfully it’s long in the past now. But yes, I was told that Rachel used a Powerpoint I’d made. It was quite a thrill.

        Not such a god now I expect, but there we are – honest at least. Thank you anyway for your boundless enthusiasm, Robert, and good night to you. Pleasant dreams.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Robert Hall said:

    Also, is there a way to get a head-on shot of the set, seen on the video of the conundrum?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Robert Hall said:

    Yes it was Steven! I had a feeling it was you actually because your PowerPoints were fantastic. Your Cinema 4D work is obviously better, but you proved PowerPoint can still be a great program to use.

    I’m not surprised Rachel used your work – like I have said many times, you truly are the master of Countdown designing – if that makes sense!

    And don’t be silly – of course you are a god. And it’s not stupid, don’t worry. Hiding behind a different identity is something many people have done. I’ve had a few friends who have done it as a result of abuse and even stalking online, to the point they couldn’t feel safe being themselves.

    Continue being a fantastic designer, Jacob. Cannot wait to see your future and I will be here as one of your many supporters along the way 😀

    Have a fantastic day, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jacob said:

      Powerpoint is great as a launch pad, certainly. I cut my teeth on v4.0 – it’s a little more dynamic these days!

      Many thanks for your understanding and support. It was cyber-stalking in this instance. Sad to hear that its so widespread; sadder still that I’m not really surprised. Social media, eh – who needs it. It’s why I just stick to WordPress these days – it’s nice here.

      Enjoy your evening!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Robert Hall said:

        Yes, I agree completely. The internet is a very unsafe place for people these days. That includes adults – not just younger people. I personally believe that Instagram is hugely responsible for suicide amongst the younger generation these days. Unfortunately, I had a very close friend who committed suicide last year, simply because he felt like he wasn’t as “popular” as the people he (foolishly) followed on that pathetic site – all of whom had thousands of (fake) followers. He never spoke up about it either. I won’t go into any more detail…

        I feel rude doing this, but could I ask for something? I’m hosting this one-off Countdown game for Christmas with my class at college. The prize will be a petty box of chocolates – perhaps from Thorntons on the condition that I’m nice this year, but I’ve been asked to host it for the sake of some fun before breaking up for the Christmas holiday – since I’m stuck for graphics and yours are, what, 100,000x better than my own?, I’m just curious if you could produce a video of the standalone clock (no rounds) for that game. It would be really appreciated if you could and would help out greatly. Pushing it a bit, but if it was possible, could it be in the orange wings set? I completely understand if it’s a no and like I mentioned, I feel rude asking because I know you are busy a lot of the time. If it’s a thumbs up, perfect – just let me know!

        Enjoy your night and keep up your outstanding performance. Good night Jacob 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jacob said:

        Oh man, that’s awful. I actually bit the bullet and tried Instagram earlier in the year – lots of good artists on there, but on the whole it struck me as a strange and shallow place. 90% of it was selfies and people showing off their body. No wonder people are so insecure! Best stay away.

        I will have to see regarding the orange set. It might take a while.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Robert Hall said:

        Most of Instagram is indeed most of what you have described, hence why I don’t use it. And you’re right – why draw yourself into all of this negativity just because you don’t have biceps or a trending fashion sense?

        As for the set, I don’t need it until the 22nd. If that’s a suitable time for you then great; if not, I could just use this design. It’s up to you 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Robert Hall said:

        Absolutely fantastic again, Jacob. And to do that in just a short time is phenomenal. Your hardware has got to be quicker than you surmised 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      • Jacob said:

        Hello,

        I rendered a video of the 2000 set. Here it is:

        Liked by 1 person

      • Robert Hall said:

        That is absolutely fantastic, Jacob! I’ll use that for my event if that’s alright with you? Thanks a lot for taking the time out to do that for me – much appreciated!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jacob said:

        Thanks! Yes, feel free.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Robert Hall said:

        You should honestly do more of these videos, Jacob! They are really good. I’ve been working on my own version of the blue wings design, but compared to yours it’s nothing worth getting excited about. I’ll post in a short while…

        Liked by 2 people

      • Robert Hall said:

        Jacob, by any chance do you have a shot of the numbers board from the front?

        Liked by 1 person

    • Jacob said:

      Aw, thanks so much, Sharon! Lots of nostalgia wrapped up in this one.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Robert Hall said:

    Nowhere close to yours, but here’s my attempt at this set thanks to the screenshot. The lights on the wings were the most difficult part for me to do – not sure about you – but I’m actually pleased with this design. No wonder it was the best design the show adopted. https://imgur.com/a/jPXIr

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow, stunning Jacob, flashing lights and everything, it’s very had to tell it from the real thing, congrats!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jacob said:

      Thanks so much, Phil – it was quite a labour of love!

      Liked by 1 person

Talk to me!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: